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He'd say I rotted him out with my leaf mold love-
too rich, like the infinite species beneath my skin.
I told him he shouldn't send poems.
The pages only get soaked, his words turn to pulp.
With me, I said, you'll need to withstand steam.

I'm one of those grotesque blossoms hung
from branches of sweating rainforest trees,
the kind of flower about which observers
cannot decide-rootless, far too large to be
pretty, just out of reach from the ground.

What kind of red are the petals?
Come closer. You can't be sure.
The bottom layer of sunset?
Bitten skin of an overripe apple? Blood?
Impossible flower. It wants to be eaten, or burned.

Bio: Svea Barrett teaches Creative Writing in Allendale NJ, and lives in Wyckoff with her three sons. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Samsara Quarterly, LIPS, The Paterson Literary Review and the Journal of NJ Poets.

Contact Svea Barrett at

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